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The New Enemy - Darkness, She Was The Universe

More classic hardcore from Toronto

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The New Enemy - Darkness, She Was The Universe

Darkness, She Was The Universe

The New Enemy
Back in 2009, I got my hands on the Shakedown EP by Toronto's The New Enemy and was immediately sucked in by a band that played tight furious old school hardcore. The band has continued in that vein, and now they're self-releasing their debut full-length Darkness, She Was The Universe and you have to ask - have the years been kind to this hard-spun, yet unsigned band? Have they maintained their intensity that has brought them accolades, if not a record deal?

And the answer to that is, "you betcha."

On Darkness, She Was The Universe, the band is reaching to new heavy heights, mixing retrospective hardcore with elements of metal and crossover thrash into an aggressive heavy mass that's once again ready to slap you up and down, harshly punctuated by gravelly vocals.

With all the songs coming in at around three minutes, The New Enemy follows the "get in, make your point, and get out" philosophy employed by many hardcore bands. And yet with this, and with a sound that's wrapped around making music that's fast and heavy (and occasionally a bit slower and heavy), it never gets tiresome or repetitive. It's not formulaic, it's just the way these Canadians make music.

The album has some fast, rolling circle pit anthems, like "Mosh Pity Party," which employs some thrash heavy sounds and some speed transitions that are custom created to be best at home at the parties from which the some takes its name, and it bleeds into "New Gods," another spearhead of a tune that jabs aggressively at, only to roll into more circle pit- inspired instrumentation. "Live To Tell" is unrelentless in its energy, with minimal moments for catching one's breath, and "The Culling Season" spits a few seconds of a metal-inspired riff before mercilessly steamrolling you in aggressive hardcore. "Lives On The Run" is punchy and heavy, the way those certain classic hardcore tunes that grab you by the throat and refuse to let you go until you've been thoroughly throttled do. "House of Cards" and "Equifux" continue with a sound that's polished for the pit just enough to still be raw and abrasive at the edges.

There are also some slow, sludgy incredibly heavy tracks, like the metal influenced "Keratine," and "Lives On The Run," which threatens to smother you with its thick sound. "Dead Eyes" is undeniably influenced by metal as well, pairing raw vocals with more melodic harmonies, and big instrumental sounds that wrap around the songs scarred underbelly.

Darkness, She Was The Universe wraps up with "The Muck," a track that delves deep into the thickness that its name implies, but then climbs to more majestic heights, with a melodic close that is definitely metal influenced, but in that high art sort of way, with what sounds like strings and keys to wrap it up.

The band is releasing Darkness, She Was The Universe on BandCamp as a free download with "name your price" option. The money they raise from this is going to be donated to Youth Without Shelter, a Toronto-based shelter for homeless and abused youth. In addition, the band is coordinating this release with work other bands, labels, and clothing companies to collect donations of clothing and other useful items. It's a model they've followed for their release since 2008, with the proceeds from their albums directly going back to the community. It's just one more aspect that has them rooted firmly in their scene, with a vested interest in doing big things for other than personal gain.

Perhaps the Canadian hardcore seems to be an underexplored scene, and that outside of a few obvious examples like D.O.A., Fucked Up, and Propaghandi, not many hardcore bands seem to break out of the great white north, but the fact that a band like The New Enemy can continue to produce one stellar recording after another without gaining the exposure they deserve says that more musical exploration of Canada's hardcore sounds is needed. By embracing a sound that is predominantly hardcore but mixed with multiple thrash and metal influences, The New Enemy is continuing with a sound they've perfected over the years. It's a sound that sounds seriously retro, yet loaded with a fresh energy, like you're hearing an album from the early days of the scene for the very first time.

Release Date - November 6, 2012

You can download Darkness, She Was The Universe, as well as the band's first three releases, here.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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